Semarang is located in central Java, a port city founded by the Dutch in 1682. It has a diverse culture combining those of the Dutch, Chinese, Indian Arab, European and of course the native Indonesian. Many older historic buildings are landmarks in the city, especially the temples that represent the range of religions as diverse as the cultures that formed this city. Close to the water, the climate of Semarang combines warmth with humidity, offering travellers a toasty spot to enjoy history and other attractions.
Historic Attractions in Semarang.
The Old City, Kota Lama, is the old Dutch sector, with about 50 buildings remaining of the historic architectural colonial style, although some are in a neglected condition. A bustling centre, this area was once nicknamed ‘Little Netherland’ (Oudstadt). The most haunted place in Semarang, the former headquarters of the Dutch East Indies Railway Company, Lawang Sewu (House of a Thousand Doors and Windows), and later used as a prison and place of execution during the second world war. Some of the thousand windows are beautifully stained glass and well worth a visit. A monument to remember the fight for independence, when many lost their lives fighting the Japanese, is known as the Youth Monument or Tuga Muda.
Top Religious Attractions in Semarang
Muslims are called to prayer at the Great Mosque of Central Java, a complex that covers 10Ha and has the most unusual umbrellas that are opened once a year, the Mosque was built at the beginning of the 21st century. In the 13th Century Semarang was visited by the Chinese explorer Zheng He as he established the Sam Poo Kong Temple. The temple is older than the city itself.
The most beautifully decorated temple in Semarang is the Tay Kak Sie Temple, while the Buddhagaya Watugong Monastry’s Avalokitesvara Pagoda is the tallest in Indonesia. Lit up at night, this 164 foot high work of art is hard to miss.
The Protestant religion has Church Blenduk, the Immanuel Protestant Church of Western Indonesia, which was built in 1753, and displays a huge copper dome that gives it its commonly used name. One of the oldest Hindu structures in Java, the Gedong Songo Temple was built in the 8th-9th century, and is no longer used for services, but is solely a tourist venue.